WHEREAS the apicultural program in Beaverlodge has served as a backbone for resource material for the beekeepers in the Peace Region since the 1920s; AND WHEREAS in 2002, the Peace Region had the highest honey production in Alberta (“Alberta 2002 Beekeepers Survey Results,” Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development); AND WHEREAS removal of this program will make the beekeeping industry within the Peace Region vulnerable because of lack of government support; AND WHEREAS there is a wealth of historic, well-documented apiculture research at Beaverlodge Research Station, relocation of the program will disrupt the pattern of this research; AND WHEREAS the capital cost of relocating the program will be excessive due to duplication of resources; AND WHEREAS the major downsizing that occurred in 1995, which subsequently reduced the number of employees to 50% within two years has already eliminated and reduced several major programs.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the federal government to continue the operation of the apiculture program at Beaverlodge Research Station and that adequate funds be allocated for research and recruitment of scientists.
Mr. W. D. Albright, the first Superintendent of the Farm, was instrumental in encouraging the bee industry in the Peace River area. On his advice the first colony of bees was purchased in Beaverlodge on July 15, 1922. This hive and others became an important tool for demonstration and teaching a number of beekeepers. Beekeeping was carried out at the farm until 1939 when it was discontinued because of the Second World War and was re-introduced about 1953.In 1971 Don Nelson was appointed Apiculturist at the farm where he worked on management and production studies. Different scientists have worked on these studies since then.The research branch evoked a major downsizing in 1995 as a result of the federal government national budget cuts. This downsizing caused substantial reduction and in some cases elimination of certain programs.In 2002, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada embarked on a different reorganization. In the new system, four national program areas will link studies across all departments. Under each of the four national program areas, themes or groups of studies of more or less similar nature, will be grouped under a national theme leader. Individual stations no longer have budgets, but individual studies will have a budget within their theme. Thus, apiculture now falls under the national program “Sustainable Productions System”, and within that, under the theme “Livestock Production Systems” and will be linked with livestock, which encompasses cattle, poultry, sheep, hogs and honeybees.The present program and future research at Beaverlodge are directed primarily at aiding the beekeeping industry with pest, disease and management problems. Emphasis from 2002 to 2005 will be on the following: Reduced Residue Risks with Alternative Antibiotics Predicting AFB infection Improving AFB resistance Peace Region Beekeepers have depended on the Research Station for professional help. There are strong ties between the scientists and the local beekeepers. Since the mid 70s, every year the station holds a “Beekeepers field day”. This is a popular event that attracts up to 200 people each year. The purpose of the field day is:1. To acquaint beekeepers with research programs 2. To facilitate the transfer of beekeeping technology3. To provide a chance for bee keepers to convey their concerns and problems so that research could be directed to solve specific needs4. To give beekeepers an opportunity to meet, socialize, and discuss issues.According to Alberta 2002 Beekeepers Survey Results produced by Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Regionally in Alberta, honey production in 2002 was highest in the Peace Region. This region produced roughly 10.4 million pounds of honey, or 34% of the total provincial production of 29.7 million pounds. The North West Region closely followed with production of roughly 10.2 million pounds (34.3%), followed by the North East Region with roughly 4.6 million pounds (15.4%). The Central Region had the lowest production at roughly 1.3 million pounds (4.2%), while in the South it was 3.3 million pounds (11.2%).